WKU volleyball jumps to No. 19, 3 players collect more C-USA weekly awards

WKU sophomore Lauren Matthews (5) spikes the ball during Sunday’s sweep against the UTSA Roadrunners. Matthews lead the Lady Toppers with 15 kills and ended the game with a .522 hitting percentage.

Kaden Gaylord

The WKU volleyball team (26-1, 12-0 C-USA) continued its run of weekly honors on Monday afternoon, as the Lady Toppers jumped up to a No. 19 ranking in the AVCA Division I Coaches Poll and three players received weekly awards from Conference USA.

Junior Nadia Dieudonne was named Setter of the Week for the sixth time this season, freshman Paige Briggs earned Freshman of the Week recognition for the sixth time and sophomore Lauren Matthews received Offensive Player of the Week honors for the fourth time in 2019.

No. 19 WKU — ranked No. 22 last week — earned more accolades by defeating North Texas (15-10, 9-4 C-USA) 3-1 in the North Texas Volleyball Center and knocking off then-No. 17 Rice (22-2, 11-1 C-USA) 3-2 on Senior Day in Tudor Fieldhouse over the weekend.

The Lady Toppers have won an NCAA-best 26 matches and have amassed a 22-game winning streak — the second-longest stretch in the country.

Like last week, there are two C-USA squads in the top 25 — No. 21 Rice (22-2, 11-1) is still ranked after dropping a five-set match to WKU on Sunday.

{{tncms-inline account=”AVCA” html=”<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">AVCA Top-25:1. Texas2. Pitt3. Baylor4. Stanford5. Minn6. Neb7. Wisconsin8. Penn St9. Marquette10. BYU11. Florida12. Colo St13. Wash14. Creighton15. Utah16. Purdue17. Kentucky18. Hawai'i19. WKU20. Cal21. Rice22. Wash St23. Michigan24. USD25. Illinois</p>— AVCA (@AVCAVolleyball) <a href="https://twitter.com/AVCAVolleyball/status/1193976560765853696?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">November 11, 2019</a></blockquote>” id=”https://twitter.com/AVCAVolleyball/status/1193976560765853696″ type=”twitter”}}

Stellar performances from the trio helped the Lady Toppers keep their eye-popping statistical marks intact for another week.

Matthews continues to be dominant on the year, posting 19 kills and six blocks against the Mean Green and then putting up 17 kills and six blocks against Rice.

Matthews continues to lead the conference and the nation in hitting percentage with a .456 mark on the year.

Dieudonne earned her sixth award after putting up 50 assists with nine digs, four blocks and three kills in the win against North Texas. She recorded her sixth double-double of the season with 60 assists and 16 digs against Rice.

Briggs continues to be impressive during her first year at the Hill, putting up big numbers in both wins and posting her 12th and 13th double-doubles of the season. She had 21 kills and 11 digs against North Texas, then put up 11 kills and 10 digs against Rice. 

The Lady Toppers have now collected 18 awards through the first 11 weeks of distribution — a new season-high for WKU since joining C-USA prior to the 2014 campaign, surpassing the previous record of 16 set back in 2017.

WKU has also had players recognized for each of the four C-USA weekly awards — Offensive PlayerDefensive PlayerSetter and Freshman of the Week.

Following another dominant weekend, the Lady Toppers will wrap up C-USA play and conclude their regular-season slate in Diddle Arena against Louisiana Tech (13-13, 3-9 C-USA) and Alabama-Birmingham (12-13, 4-8 C-USA) this weekend.

Game time is set for 6 p.m. Thursday and noon on Saturday.

Reporter Kaden Gaylord can be reached at [email protected]. Follow Kaden on Twitter at @_KLG3.